The Carnival Pride sailing on May 19, 2013 from Baltimore, MD was my 8th cruise and by far the best. I am 38 and my wife turned 36 while on board. To sum it up, I really do not comprehend the people that have given this Cruise a bad rating. The ship was in great shape, the service was unbelieveable, and the atmosphere was festive and lively throughout.
Initially, we were hesitant about booking this cruise due to the negative reviews; however, our proximity to the port and the great rates trumped the negativity expressed by others. This was our first sailing out of Baltimore and on a Spirit Class ship so we did not know what to expect. I will try to summarize our experience as best as I can in order to assist others in their Cruise planning.
We entered the gate to the terminal at 11:55 AM and were onboard at 12:33 PM. The terminal is very well organized and there is enough staff on hand to ensure that you headed in the right direction. The appearance of the ship was magnificent and very clean. The art displayed throughout the ship is not offensive in any way. Perhaps all the people that are uneasy with the decor should take a history and art lesson prior to the cruise so they can appreciate their surroundings.
There are plenty of activities every day. Unfortunately, there are many people who rather not participate and then complain about the lack of activities. The contests on the Lido deck, the trivia games in the main theater and throughout the ship were always enjoyable and very interesting. I will say that I have seen much better shows on other cruises though. The comedians were great so please show up about 30 minutes prior to their shows in order to secure a good seat. The casino needs to be ventilated better as the smoke smell is very evident even when there is no one in the room. The DJs were very good and they even played music on the piers as the guests waited to board the ship at the ports of call. We were docked next to the Carnival Splendor in Grand Turk and you could hear the guests from that ship saying that they wished they were on our ship because we even had fun while waiting in line to board. Addittionally, the Dining Room employees were out there distributing cold water for us (very nice gesture).
The gym was never crowded and the Spa offered great treatments at very reasonable prices. There is a hot tub in the gym that many people did not know about.
The main dining room had average food and variety and the buffett as well. The servers were great and made the meals very enjoyable. They had planned to sing happy birthday to my wife even though she or I had not let them know that it was her birthday. The Steakhouse was definately worth the $35.00 per person.
The cabins were average size for Carnival which is a little bigger than Royal Caribbean. The room stewards were awesome. We called ours "Stealth" because we never saw him; however, our room was always spotless and well maintained.
All were polite and always smiled and greeted us. The photographers and servers were never pushy and if you did not what they were offering, they politely smiled and went on their way.
The only excursion that we participated in was the Freeport Jeep Tour. It was awesome as well. Sammy and Joanne were great, they were very knowledgeable of the Island's history and took their time to converse and get to know all 35 of us. Definately worth the money and time.
Overall, this was a great cruise that I will recommend to anyone. Please do not pay too much attention to the negativity of other reviews and enjoy yourselves. We are already planning another cruise on the Pride next year.